US satellite giant takes stake in Aberdeen firm behind positioning tech accurate to five centimetres

A United States satellite company has taken a stake in an Aberdeen firm whose technology can take positioning accuracy down from several metres to less than five centimetres.

Iridium Communications has made a “strategic investment” in DDK Positioning on undisclosed terms.

DDK uses the Iridium network to provide precision positioning services that can augment global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) such as GPS and Galileo to significantly enhance their accuracy for critical applications.

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Standard positioning accuracy through a system like GPS is typically within ten metres. By using the Iridium network, DDK’s enhanced GPS accuracy service brings precise positioning of five centimetres or less.

Iridium has made a strategic investment in DDK Positioning, based in Aberdeen. Image: Iridium

This level of accuracy is ideal for autonomous vehicles, driverless cars, offshore infrastructure projects such as wind farm construction, and surveying.

Kevin Gaffney, chief executive of DDK Positioning, said: “We are delighted to have embarked on this journey with such a strong and well-respected company as Iridium.

“This partnership is a perfect fit for DDK Positioning, with Iridium’s satellite communications network and our GNSS solution, we are in a position to deliver a truly unique service which is robust, resilient and secure.

“The investment made by Iridium will also allow us to grow the company even further whilst expanding our service offering globally.”

Iridium chief executive Matt Desch said: “We are impressed with the team that DDK has put together and see great potential for this technology and how it takes advantage of the Iridium network.

“DDK’s enhanced positioning is a unique capability that adds a high-value solution on top of our existing portfolio of custom network services. Solutions from Iridium and DDK partners that are focused on precision agriculture, autonomous systems, maritime and infrastructure projects can now experience incredibly precise GNSS accuracy from anywhere on the planet.”

According to a report published by the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, augmentation services like those offered by DDK will account for some $76.5 billion (£55bn) in global GNSS market revenue by 2029, while the global GNSS downstream market, including services delivered and hardware devices, is estimated to reach $382bn.

In 2019, Iridium completed a major upgrade of its satellite network and launched its new broadband service.

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